police murdered street kid: Guatemalan Govt. to discuss damages

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Thu, 23 Jul 1998 10:14:52 -0700 (PDT)

FWD  CC Replies to "Ana de Lara - Casa Alianza" <casalnza@sol.racsa.co.cr>

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Casa Alianza Guatemala today congratulated the Guatemalan Government
over its decision to call a meeting in order to discuss legal claims
for damages, for the murder of 13 year old street child Nahaman
Carmona Lopez in March 1990.

Nahaman was kicked to death by four uniformed policemen who were
eventually convicted of his murder and sentenced to 12 years
imprisonment in 1992. At the time the public employees were also
ordered to pay 20, 000 Quetzales (US$3,160) to the dead boy's mother.

At the meeting Alejandro Sanchez from the Government's Presidential
Commission on Human Rights (COPREDEH) and the Sub Secretary General to
the Presidency, Lic Rosa Maria Cabrera Ortiz also discussed the
payment of interest on the 20,000 Quetzales, which was never paid, and
legal expenses incurred as ordered by the judge at the time.

Casa Alianza has been asked, by the government, to calculate both the
interest and the legal expenses which are to be submitted for
consideration in two days time.

Further the Casa Alianza representatives, headed by Regional Director
Bruce Harris, discussed how the government could make structural
changes which would allow it to assume responsibility for damages
caused by public employees involved in human rights abuses.

Currently the government says it doesn't have a budget available for
indemnity cases, nor is a budget item considered for this type of

According to article 155 of the Guatemalan constitution, the
Government of Guatemala is equally responsible, together with the
employee, for damages caused by public employees in the execution of
their duty.

Harris, along with Casa Alianza Guatemala National Director Arturo
Echeverria and Coordinator of Casa Alianza's Legal Aid office Hector
Dionicio, also discussed the possibility of the Guatemalan Government
making a 'good will' gesture to the memory of Nahaman such as naming a
school or a public street in his memory.

A second case involving 12 year old street child Marvin Oswaldo de la
Cruz Almengor was also raised. In May 1990 two national policemen
were convicted of Marvin's murder and ordered to pay 300 Quetzales
(US$55) to his father. Despite the small sum awarded the money has
never been paid.

The disparity surrounding the compensation awarded in these two cases
was brought up by the Casa Alianza team which, while acknowledging a
price can never be put on a child's life, asked the government to work
with the Supreme Court to make the sums awarded in these cases both
higher and more consistent.

Casa Alianza and government representatives will meet again on July
31st to further discuss  the cases.

Following the meeting Bruce Harris stated that, "After the initial
decision of President Alvaro Arzu, to reject legal advice and pay the
court ordered damages, Casa Alianza welcomes this change of heart.
Hopefully it will be the beginning of the government's recognition of
past human rights violations despite them not having taken place under
the present administration."

For more information, please contact Casa Alianza Guatemala at
+502 253 2965 or 251 2569 or bruce@casa-alianza.org

Casa Alianza Guatemala is to hold a conference for the press, Tuesday
July 21st, 1998 to further discuss the cases of compensation.

There will also be an up date on the numerous cases of illegal
adoptions in the country and recent attempts to coerce street children
to make testimonies against Casa Alianza.

The conference will be held at the Offices of
Casa Alianza Guatemala
4 Ave 2 - 12 Zone 1
Guatemala City
Streetkid-L Resource Page:  http://www.jbu.edu/business/sk.html
Listowner: jwalenci@acc.jbu.edu, John Brown University


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